Mark Lawrenson predicts result of West Ham United clash v Arsenal
Mark Lawrenson believes David Moyes will have been working West Ham hard during the World Cup break and they could earn an upset over Arsenal.
The Hammers currently sit one point off the relegation zone after nine losses in 15 games this season, while Arsenal sit top of the table five points clear of Manchester City.
But with the World Cup break seeing six weeks of no competitive action for clubs and with Arsenal picking up injuries during that time, Lawrenson thinks the Hammers can earn an upset with a 2-0 win at the Emirates.
“Gabriel Jesus is out for a while and that will be a big loss for Arsenal,” he wrote for Paddy Power (22 December).
“I’m going to go for an upset here and go 2-1 to West Ham. All that momentum that Arsenal built up before the World Cup counts for nothing now because of the layoff.
“I just think that David Moyes would have taken the break as a pre season and he will have worked them really hard so I’ll go with the upset.”
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Both of these teams have picked up big injuries during the World Cup break, but Arsenal’s squad is arguably less deep than West Ham’s right now and that’s a big boost.
The drop off in quality from Arsenal’s strongest lineup to their replacements is big, while the Hammers tend to have a number of players of a similar quality to rotate through.
Defensively Moyes could have some trouble with Nayef Aguerd and Kurt Zouma out injured, but going forward they have got plenty of talent and could cause real problems for the Arsenal defence.
A win is needed for them to be able to get off to a good start in the Premier League to avoid a relegation battle, but it won’t be easy.
A draw will surely be considered a good result too, but a win would be even better and a real statement that Moyes wants to push for European football again.